Allen Crabbe, who has made over $77 million in the six years he's been in the NBA, seems to have had a bad month this past June. First, he found out he was being traded from the Brooklyn Nets to the Atlanta Hawks. The Nets wanted to free up his salary for potential free agents this summer. Next, while Crabbe was in Los Angeles to work with a local high school that he saved from closing its doors in 2018, he was charged with driving under the influence (DUI). The DUI event occurred along the Sunset Strip where he was stopped and requested to perform a field sobriety test and provide a breath sample. The breath test indicated his blood alcohol content (BAC) level was 0.08, which is exactly the legal limit in California.
To some DUI attorneys, this case on its face-value may be easily challenged, especially with respect to the field sobriety tests.
Nevada Field Sobriety Tests
Field sobriety tests were developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) almost 45 years ago to help police officers across the country determine whether a driver is too intoxicated to drive. There are many different tests, but only three are approved by NHTSA. In Nevada, police are required to use these three tests to determine whether someone has a high BAC, but these tests are highly unscientific and mostly subjective, and the results can be effectively challenged in court.
One-Leg Stand Test
A driver is asked to stand on one leg with the other foot about six inches from the ground. While standing on one foot with arms out to the side, the driver is instructed to count in thousands (i.e., one one-thousand, two one-thousand, etc.).
If an officer instead asks you to recite the alphabet, then he has failed to administer the test properly. In addition, it is widely known that this test is accurate only 65% of the time, so even if the test is administered properly, there is still an opportunity to protest – e.g., you may have been nervous or may have some physical ailment that prevents you from performing successfully.
During this test, a driver has to take nine steps, heel to toe, in a straight line, and then turn around and take another nine steps back. If a driver cannot stay in a straight line or misses a step, he or she fails the test.
There are a number of reasons this test can be challenged. The first is the same as any standardized field sobriety test: the officer fails to administer it properly. But also, the results of the test can be challenged if, for example, the ground was uneven or the driver has some physical or mental limitation.
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test
For this test, an officer will hold a pen in front of a driver's eyes and ask the driver to follow the pen with his or her eyes (without turning the head) as the officer moves it back and forth. If the driver's eyeballs involuntarily jerk or move while doing so, it may indicate intoxication or impairment. But certain medical conditions, like influenza or glaucoma, can cause involuntary eye movement, too.
Do you have to submit to a field sobriety test in Nevada?
In most states, including Nevada and California, because standardized field sobriety tests are in want of scientific support – at least in want of accuracy comparable to a breath or blood test – you do not have to submit to them upon request by an officer. You can politely decline to participate in the test.
That said, if you refuse, then – at the police officer's discretion – you could be arrested under suspicion of DUI, depending on the officer's other observations of you and your behavior or appearance. If arrested, then you will be subject to a breath or blood test. If you refuse to submit a breath or blood sample, a warrant will likely be obtained for a blood draw.
Experienced DUI Defense
If you have been arrested and charged with a Nevada DUI because you failed a field sobriety test, you need experienced legal help. The Law Office of Travis Akin can examine the tests you performed and apply plausible explanations.
Call or contact Travis Akin today at (702) 510-8567 for a free consultation about your DUI charge.